Yelm, Rainier Emerge Victorious In Season’s First Week

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The Yelm High School boys basketball team won two of their most recent games, and the Rainier boys team won one.

The Tornados faced off against North Thurston High School in an away game on May 4, ousting them 66-53.

The top scorers of the game were Jeshua Hardie with 20 points, Damien Aalona with 10 points and Marius Aalona with 12 points.

And on May 7, they beat Capital High School in a home game 72-59.

There was a three-way tie for top scorer in the high-point game, with Hardie, Nathan Paul and Terrell Dunn each netting 16 points. Marius Aalona and Damian Aalona also scored in the double digits, with 12 and 10 points, respectively.

Rainier’s 61-36 blowout of Montesano on May 8 was a welcome change from its previous two games, where the Mountaineers fell to Adna 59-49, and Toledo 58-52.

“Hopefully we learned,” said Rainier coach Jeremey Landram. “We have to learn how to finish games. In both the Toledo and Adna games, we lost in overtime to Toledo, and in the Adna game we were right there ahead at the end of the third quarter and we just need to work on finishing the game as a whole program.”

Landram said the boys need to soak up the experience.

“They can develop by just going through the experience and learning from it,” he said. “You either learn from your experiences and don’t do them again, or you hit your head against a brick wall because it feels better and you keep doing it. That’s kind of where we’re at.”

And it appears the boys did learn something, as evidenced by their triumphant victory against Montesano.

“We had a lot of balanced scoring against Montesano,” Landram said. “I think we had three kids in double scoring figures and another kid at nine.”

Ian Sprouffske was the high point scorer with 17 points, followed by Josh Meldrum with 12 points, Curtis Keller with 10 points and Brody Landram with nine points.

Landram said it took a little while for the team to gear up, but when they did it spoke volumes.

“We had a slow first quarter defensively and then I believe we held them to single digits the last three quarters, which is huge for us,” he said. “Our defensive rotations got better after that first quarter. That’s kind of been key. This year we’re scoring more than we have in years past so we’ve really got to focus on shoring up our defense and we should be OK.”

And some younger players got the chance to be rotated in during the game as well.

“We had some young kids step up and provide a nice little jolt of (energy),” Landram said. “We didn’t drop off. We got into some foul trouble against Montesano, but a couple of the young kids came up and did really well.”

Overall, Landram said the team is moving and shooting the ball a bit better than it has in years past, but can improve its patience — maturing a little bit in those end-game situations. He said that everything from shot selections to defensive rotation can also be improved.

And the boys have been putting in extra time to hone their bodies for the trials of the game.

“They’re still working out. I got a group of five to seven of them that go every morning to work out at 5:30 a.m., and so they did that this morning,” Landram said. “They’re doing that totally on their own. They’ve seen the results of that and they’re totally bought into that.”

Other stats:

- In the Toledo game, the Mountaineers scored 11 points in the first quarter, 12 in the second quarter, 11 in the third quarter and 15 in the fourth quarter. The high-point scorer was Sprouffske with 24 points.

- As for Adna, the Mountaineers made 11 points in the first quarter, 14 in the second quarter, 11 in the third quarter and 13 in the fourth quarter. The high-point scorer for the game was again Sprouffske.

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